Friday, January 01, 2016

To Bed...


Let me go to sleep.

But, wake me up when

it is past six months where

I have gone to the gym
and have gotten back in shape,
and I have brought
my growing team in office
up to speed.

Wake me up when

it is past the time when

I have got my own home
and we live together as a family,
under a single roof.

Wake me up whenever

my two kids
have been trained enough
to be on their own.

Let me be asleep till then.
And yes... for now,
let me thank you
for hearing me out.

Dated: Jan 14, 2015; I guess it is still a lot more relevant this year as well. Perhaps, 2.0.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mind over matter

So, my elder one aged 4.25 has finally got rid of the diaper and is completely potty trained. While it was a humongous task for me to get him to sit in the loo, it was a herculean one to get him to stay dry the entire night... What could have started (or rather, was attempted) a year ago, got delayed owing to the birth of my second son, Ashwin. And after the initial excitement of the homecoming of a new member, getting used to his presence, and after me gaining confidence of managing both him and the little one at night, I finally coaxed him into letting go of the diaper. To take full credit of this event is rather unfair because I did my job and it just happened; it could have not happened as well... I would leave all credits to the one above in making this happen. I suppose the experts know it well when they say that potty training can happen in just a few weeks or it may take many months or a year as well. It depends on so many factors; one of the prime factor being the child's mind or the child's mental makeup towards diapering.

The entire process started like this: me declaring that we are not going to use the diaper at night time because he has become a big boy (of course he agreed to it as well, but failed to have control over his bladder) and after so many nights of crying when woken up to change after he gets wet, we decided to go back to the diaper. So, one fine day I casually mentioned that for the money that we buy diaper I can as well get you a toy; why don't you stop crying and wake up when I call you to go to the loo... After reading up, there were two things that went into my head: the kid probably is goes into a very deep sleep state and so is unaware and sleepy to acknowledge what is happening within him and outside him, and two: luring the kid with something fancy like an alarm clock etc. A workaround for the first item would be to have a night light that is a bit brighter so that he does not settle himself too well in his sleep. And for the second trick, what worked for Ashwath was one day he was asking if there a 13 in the clock, for which I said that there is a 13 in digital clocks and that corresponds to the one o clock in the wall clock. And he was impressed with the digital clock stuff and an alarm in it. And I even dug up a digital clock that I had, which thankfully had the alarm working in it.

All these discrete events summed up to get him potty trained. One fine day when we went to my friend's son's birthday party—the kid was a month younger than Ashwath and in a casual talk I happened to ask my friend if his son was completely potty trained (stayed dry at nights). He had mentioned it was more than 6 months ago that he was potty trained. This rang a bell in my head and I decided to give it a try now that I was comfortable with the little one sleeping as a family (rather than in his cradle). I explained to Ashwath when he was in a calm state that it is high time we gave up the diaper and that he gets a digital clock which will beep in the night when it is time for him visit the loo. He was excited about it. One more thing that was a hindrance was the time when we last gave him a glass of water. By the time he finishes his dinner it was 9:30 or 9:45 and after which I give him the mandatory 200 ml of water. So, after advice from my doctor-husband about it really not making a difference if he drinks and eats or eats and drinks, we decided to give him is 200 ml of water before dinner (ideally, 15 min before dinner) so that he does not miss his water intake and with just a 50 ml of water after dinner, we are done with the water for the day.

So with his excitement about the digital clock and the alarm, I decided to give it a try one more time... Starting from March 25th to April 25th, I woke him up every night between 1:30 to 2:30 (I learnt from the initial failed attempts that he wets anytime between the aforementioned time). In fact, the first few days, I kept the diaper on him and tried to wake him up at night for his loo visit; the digital alarm was just not strong enough to wake me up; so, I decided to give the phone alarm a try. And with that I woke him up; of course, I had to coax him saying that the alarm clock has beeped and that it takes just one minute to wake up and pee (again I had this working logic from past experiences that it take lesser time to do things than it takes to cry and not get it done at all). The coaxing worked every night with much struggle. After about a month, it so happened that I had to work in the US timings for a week and I was too tired the last two days to wake him up for his loo visit and voila, he stayed dry from then to now, and it has been a successful two months now!

So, that is the story of the boy who would not know to speak to tell us when he wanted to potty to the boy who trained himself to stay dry at night.

Monday, January 06, 2014

The boys at home

My thought at the end of the first three months of my second son's birth and managing my first son who is a preschooler now:
What was I thinking... 
Rather, was I thinking at all?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

List of threats

Ash will soon become a pre-schooler and as his age increases, so does his various ways of experimenting with the laws of physics such as gravitation, balance, and cause and effect. That said, there is an increased necessity of imposing restriction on his actions to prevent the chances of an accident, and to bring in some discipline. With corporal punishment just not working and combined with it, the guilt feeling that arises in me for hurting him both mentally and physically, what is working these days are the different kinds of threats for each type of mischief.

These are the list of threats that seem to be working with Ash these days...

Case 1: For things as simple as drinking water or eating something (of course, only with eatables that he likes), even after calling him twice or thrice, he does not seem to be heeding.

What works: Now, his dad or someone must just say, 'don't give it to Ashwath, give it to me', and then the next second he does it.

Case 2: For washing hands after eating (especially when Mickey is going on), or acts of mischief such as jumping over from chair to sofa; of course warnings such as, 'Ashwath, don't do that; you will fall and hurt yourself,' never causes an iota of change in his mindset.

What works: Threats such as, 'continue doing so, just you wait, I am going to put you in a hostel', and immediately he says, 'hostel number podadheenga', which translates to 'please don't call the hostel number'. Following that, I also make sure that he is aware that no one would help him in a hostel and he has to do things all by himself. I am just wondering when he will get to know on how admissions in a residential school happens!

Case 3: For discipline issues such as not willing to close his eyes even after 15 minutes of going to sleep, and even after telling him a mickey story, and even after telling him that I am feeling super sleepy, he refuses to close his eyes and mouth.

What works: Here comes the 'koney man' (which translates to 'Sack man') to put you in a sack and take you away. And then he responds with 'amma shoo sollidunga (shoo him away)'. After I say, 'hey koney man, go away, Ashwath will sleep now', he then stops all his mischief and goes to sleep.

Earlier on, the countdown worked; however, now he seems to top it with, 'amma happy-a irunthu 1-2-3 sollunga', which translates to 'mom, be happy (i.e., don't be angry) and count 1-2-3'. And then, anyways, no heeding eventually!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ash does it!

And finally after so many of my failed attempts, Ash today used the lavatory to poo! I have been trying since like when he was less than a year old—he is 2 yrs and 9 months now. Of course not on a daily basis because, on the one day that I try to make use the potty (that cost me INR 750), or the traditional method, he would cry and make such a big hullaballoo that it would make me fear that he would develop a fear around poo-ing or would refuse to poo the next day and thereby leading to other complications (ask a paediatric surgeon's wife).

The first time around, I got several reminders from senior citizens on making it a habit to put the kid in between the feet and wait till they poo. How on earth would they know to do exactly that, when we put them is still a wonder. May be they are correct, I would really not know--it's not a been-there-done-that scenario for me here... Neither did my parents know. I am wondering how they taught us! Anyway, the point is I missed the bus. And yeah, a few more wonder stories (fairy tales) that I have heard were to train the kids in such a way that at the count of three, they pee or poo. In worst cases, I have even heard that they get so accustomed to the cause and effect that only when you count, anything at all happens. Now that can get really bad!

And then, after a few days, Ash learnt to pee when asked to pee and call out when he wants to. So, a major part of the potty training was resolved. I was once discussing with my friends and determined that potty aka toilet training involves two aspects--the habit of poo-ing and making them learn to use the toilet, and that is for peeing as well as poo-ing.

Me being around only on the weekends, makes the matter worse, because consistency is important with toilet training. Most of the weekends go past in spending time with him or taking Ash out for walks. Past all this, when on some enlightened days, I would think it is high time I gave this a try. And so, I pull out the potty from the attic and after strenuous pleading, I would make him sit on it, saying that I would tell him the 'Arnie the monkey story'. Ash being the skinny types, guess, lack of flesh at the bottom makes it difficult to sit on the potty and he keeps adjusting his seat and is never at ease. In the two or three attempts that I have made with the potty, he has landed up only listening to the story and never poo-ed.

The last time I attempted was when he voluntarily told me beforehand that he wanted to poo (of course not using the potty but the usual way of standing with a loincloth tied around his waist), I made him sit on the toilet (Indian style) because he was accustomed to the toilet (during the cleansing process). And what happened? Starting from this point and for various other reasons, he had cried for about close to 20 minutes and also enraged me. And this was two weeks ago, sometime on the Diwali Eve.

Today morning, the care taker who takes care of Ash told me that she tried to make him sit on the toilet but finally ended up in a failed attempt. When she said this, what was surprising was that he did not cry. And involuntarily, I gave her a reply saying, let's try this on a daily basis and see where it takes us—may be repeated attempts would let us win over him. And today, I got this great news! Honestly, it is such a great achievement! And no news about Ashwath has excited me so much after he saying 'anna'. :-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ash’s Attack on the Aliens

For the third time now, Ash has thrown such a tantrum before he enters someone's house that we had planned to visit. The first time around, I guess he was disappointed because he was under the impression that we were to visit Fun City, the play area at City Center... understandable. Umpteen attempts to appease him by offering him chocolates, his favorite custard apple or orange, just failed. Not for a second he put his feet inside the house. Apparently, they are people whom he has never seen before and are aliens to him! Believe me it was so embarrassing! Either of us had to keep him on the street just outside the house, with one or the other members of the host trying to engage him in a conversation. Only just when he left, he looked up at the hosts and bade a happy farewell.

Being the great hosts they were, they did not mind much of this happening and visited our house two days later with a gift for him, a motorized bike. Even now, unfortunately, they were around just when he woke up and as cranky as he ever would be after waking up, he exhibited even more resistance, and just did not enter the place they were seated. After an hour or so, he was okay and came around to be in the same room as they were. And after a while, he was interested in the bike. And even later, he did not mind being carried by them for a few minutes. Such was the case, in spite of the fact that the cycle is his dearest possession, and the gift the most amazing toy that Ash has ever been gifted!

The next time around it was my mom's turn to bear the brunt. She had taken him to her sister's place, and over there the lift played the spoilsport. Wherever he goes, if he sees the lift or the escalator, he would turn blind to anything else other than these modes of commutation. My mom had to wait for half an hour before he agreed to enter the house. And after he did, he thoroughly enjoyed the stay and had a long heart to leave the place.

The last time the showdown with the aliens happened was when we had visited my friend's place to see the newborn in their house. My friend first kid is an 8-year old son and there is no dearth for play items. Of course he does not about it… I can’t believe that he was throwing a tantrum the third time around! He went to the extent that he started going down the stairs that led to the house. Neither candies nor sweet talk worked. Thankfully, the car and the jeep came to rescue now, and after he started seeing his stuff, he was at peace and more of that. Unfortunately, we had to leave in 15 minutes because it was already too late in the night and already past dinner time.

The icing on the cake was when the next day he woke up and started crying because he wanted to go to anna's house. I had to pacify him saying we will make a visit after dad comes home. As it usually happens with kids, he did not bring it up again. I guess as he grows older, the fear of strangers and general social stigma issues come up. And then, as time goes by and the children start schooling, I suppose, they gradually get over them. However, the next day, I summarized all these three incidents to him and told that he must be a good boy when we visit someone's house so that he gets more play time. 

Let's see what happens next time!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ash's Swear Words

Funny to hear the swear words (!) that Ashwath uses when he is in rage:

  • amma poya: meaning, 'mom go away'; Guess it translates to 'Go to hell!'?
  • onnum venaam: meaning, 'nothing needed'; translates to 'Don't bug me!'?
  • azhu moonji appa: meaning, 'crybaby dad'; Guess there is not much to translate...
  • amma kulika poya: meaning, 'go take bath'; translates to 'Don't show your face to me. Get away.'
  • appa shave pannanum: meaning, 'dad, go n shave'; again translates to 'Don't show your face to me. Get away.'

I can figure that the bathe and shave is not literal, because he uses the swear phrase, with everyone: avva shave pannanum, amma shave pannanum, etc... And when gets really angry, he puts so much emphasis on the first syllable of the word 'po'ya that he literally sings a song, appa poooya! :-)

I am wondering how the expression of anger through words happens at such an early age! 

And the longer we keep the habit, the harder it gets to overcome it... I am learning a little late in life; but at least happy that I am learning!